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Two wheels on ice

Winter has arrived and one of the hardest (and most frequent) conditions we experience here in the UK is riding in high wind, especially while the road is wet too. In addition these conditions can blow or turn riders off course. Here are some tips to prepare riders this winter season from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Beware of the wind – gusts when emerging from building lines or beside high-sided vehicles can catch you out. If there are any trees, use them as an indicator of the wind strength. If they are whipping about slow down. A sudden change of direction at speed can be frightening for other road users.


  • Plan for both parts of your journey – out and return – and try to make a habit of checking the weather forecast before riding.

  • Dress correctly in warm but comfortable bike attire. Good gloves and boots will help you stay warm and alert. Check your visor; those little scratches will show up on the dark nights and headlamps in the rain make vision almost impossible.


  • Choose your route carefully as well as where you position yourself on the road. Wet leaves are like ice and ice is like nothing you have ever ridden on. When grip is zero your motorcycling skills make little difference. Be aware of where water collects – a dry line is better and safer.


  • Potholes get worse in winter and despite being almost invisible develop a magnet attraction for motorcycles in the dark. Slow down and be prepared. If the weather is extreme don’t chance it on two wheels – nothing could be worse than damaging yourself, your pride and joy or another road user.

Richard said: “As with all things motorcycling, preparation is key. Having the right equipment makes all the difference. Motorcycles are supposed to be fun. By planning your ride along a route that will have seen some attention from the council you are likely to arrive home safely without having any moments.”

  1. Richard Gladman is IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards.
  2. IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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